Full Moon On New Years Day, 2018

Full Moon On New Years Day, 2018

New Year’s Day 2018 was also a day the moon was featured prominently in the late afternoon sky. It was a ‘Wolf Moon’ (the first full moon in January) and a Supermoon (when a full moon occurs at perigee) making it appear about 7% larger than a typical full moon. The full moon on New Year’s Day meant that a rare second full moon occurred in the same month (on the 31st) which is known as a Blue Moon (hence the term “once in a blue moon”). To make this story even more interesting, the Blue Moon on January 31st was also a total lunar eclipse in the southern America’s (we saw a partial eclipse in Ontario). With all that build up, here is a picture of the full moon on New Year’s Day taken at a farm near Brechin, Ontario shortly after it rose. It was well worth the drive and standing out in the snow in -20°C temperatures to take these few shots.
 
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The closest I could park the car was more than 100 yards away so I chose to take just one camera, lens & tripod with me. The lens I selected had a 500mm focal length, which was the wrong lens for the job! After taking just one picture with it (above), I ran back to the car along a snowmobile trail and replaced the big telephoto lens with a more versatile 100-400mm zoom lens which allowed lots of different compositional possibilities!
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The above image was taken at a focal length of 300mm.
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A focal length of 135mm allowed inclusion of all the farm buildings, however as the focal length decreases, so does the contribution of the moon to the image. It is often difficult in the field to determine exactly what the best composition will be, especially as composition is a very subjective thing. For that reason it is wise to experiment with as many different compositional combinations as possible.
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I had to move to the right in order to position the peek-a-boo moon directly over the red barn doors (note the reduced relative size of the outbuilding to the left of the barn), however it makes for a more pleasing composition. The better you can train yourself to think about even the smallest of details while you are out taking pictures is extremely beneficial.  It is paying attention to the little things that make would be snapshots become great photographic images.
 
While walking back to the car with hands and feet far too cold to be taking more pictures, the rustic fence and full moon under the tree branches made me stop for ‘just one more’!
 
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It’s interesting to see how the colour of the moon changes so dramatically as it quickly rises into the sky, beginning a burnt orange as it rises to almost white after about twenty minutes. The influence of the earth’s atmosphere on the sun’s rays when the moon is low in the horizon causes the colour changes. In none of these images was the moon’s colour manipulated during processing. They all appear as they were exposed in the camera.
 
Sorry there are no Blue Moon or lunar eclipse photographs to post as it was a snowy overcast day with total cloud cover on the last day of January!
 
Enjoy the winter months and don’t be afraid to take your gear out in the cold to capture some winter landscapes.
 
As always, if you have any questions, please ask and we will be glad to answer them. Also, I’ve recently opened a new Instagram account just for landscape shots, @smp_landscapes so please follow me there if you are on Instagram. The Instagram account for bird photography is @scottmartinphotography 

2 Comments

  1. Amazing shots and interesting discussion Scott! It sure helps to be in the right place at the right time!

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